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Hello Branksome Park and Canford Cliffs RA,
There is a lot more to establishing sound management of studentification than getting Article 4 orders put in place ( actually ineffective and useless as stand alone policy). Needed are comprehensive studentification policies included in strategic local plans (we can send you on request a copy of our proposed policy framework we feel appropriate to meet this need) and inclusion of estimated housing demand for student accommodation in housing assessment. Neither at present are compulsory requirements by way of Government statutory Guidance.
We note from your website that you have concerns about how the expansion of studentification is affecting your area. What follows may therefore be of interest; and may even be something you can take up at the forthcoming attached Conference as well as elsewhere.
We, speaking based on our learning and experience of this issue in Chester over recent years, hope our appeal to those attending it concerning the handling of studentification of conurbations will cause the two key points we have identified to be raised and to then be taken up with Government in hope of a change to a sound management strategy and abandonment of the existing unsound way this studentification is guided in Planning across the UK. . We do not ask too much but we are cynically denied what we ask for in favour of university expansion over the interest of local community and even more significantly major commitments made in Local Plans with which the relatively unregulated and unsoundly unincluded expansion of HE (certainly the case in Chester) is in certain ways in serious conflict.
Chester Community Voice UK
SAMPLE LETTER SENT IN ADVANCE OF THIS SEMINAR:
Westminster Social Policy Forum Keynote Seminar Wednesday 28th October 2015
Local growth and regeneration in England – funding, innovation and the future of LEPs
Deputy Editor, Westminster Social Policy Forum
T: 01344 864796
F: 01344 420121
Follow on Twitter @WSPFEvents
SAMPLE APPEAL TO RESPRESENT OUR VIEW AT THE SEMINAR:
TO CAROLINE LUCAS MP (MESSAGE ALSO SENT TO CHAIR AND OTHERS SCHEDULED SPEAKERS PLUS SOME OF OUR OWN LOCAL COUNCILLORS AND OUR NEW MP).
TO CAROLINE LUCAS MP:
Dear Ms Lucas,
As a patron you will no doubt be aware of this upcoming conference.
Key points to be brought to the attention of the Conference regarding expansion of HE and its involvement in this process with reference to the need for sound Strategic Planning management of the impact on town and gown conurbations wherever they may be are as follows. In the interests of sound planning, accountability and democratic accountability could you please ensure the Conference is made aware of these concerns.
What is wrong with Government policy that needs to be put right in this context?
Two key fundamental failings need correction:
1. No statutory guidance exists that demands in so affected town and gown conurbations a studentification policy is included as obligatory in the Strategic Local Plan Part 1 to make the Plan sound. For example CWAC ended up ducking the issue and our CCV UK demands and there is no studentification policy in their SLP for Chester.
2. Government statutory guidance on how assessment of housing need is to be delivered only states that LAs can rather than must include in the assessment all proposed student accommodation (as noted in my earlier missive). Such a difference due to the difference in use of one word. For Chester by having not included such an estimate but in allowing so many student accommodations to be built within the city of late we estimate that has left a shortfall of some 800 required mixed residential units here just with a view to 2017. Surely that cannot be seen as sound planning?
The failure of the Inspector of our CWAC Strategic Local Plan to allow us to address the implication of development of student accommodation not factored into the housing assessment at the Chester Matters (3) debate is more than a contempt for our local contribution. It is unsound and a failure of democratic accountability of the Planning process.
To put this submission to you in a national context, as of August 2008, there were ninety-one universities in England, out of a total of 109 in the United Kingdom. Additionally there are approximately 133 higher education institutions that have not been given the right to call themselves a “university” by the Privy Council (such as colleges of higher education). The lives we estimate of well over one million people here and there are affected by the presence and relatively unregulated expansion of these institutions (in terms of strategic planning). Where HE expansion is planned, linked or not with various enterprise initiatives, local communities are currently betrayed and their power of representation impoverished by lack of adequate Governance of the issue that might better ensure the right balance is struck. The operation of so called One Nation Politics? We think not.
Chester Community Voice UK
99 Hartington Street
Chester CH4 7BP
This is what we have written to some of the proposed speakers and requested of those elected to represent us locally and at Westminster:
CCV UK very much supports the acceptance of the potential use of the option of a student village solution where deemed necessary to relieve pressure on local communities and so many other aspects of the character and work of a living and working town or city or indeed other conurbation as so affected by studentification. It is a shame our Cheshire West and Chester Strategic Local Plan (recently adopted) makes every effort to evade recognising the potential advantages and use of such an option. The bloody minded determination of this LA against our wishes tis to force all such development into the city of Chester with no acceptance of any other possible solution despite the NPPF leaving the door open for consideration of delivering such even in the greenbelt at some appropriate location.
When we as CCV UK questioned this on the night (after a long four year battle during which our representations were largely bated away) full CWAC council adopted the Strategic Local Plan using public speaking time not one councillor responded to us before passing that plan with no studentification policy in it. They were both evasive and contemptuous of our contribution (see attached speech we made on the night). Even worse when we attended as invited the Chester Matters debate (item 3) at our Local Plan public enquiry the inspector refused to let us raise for discussion at the table the impact of delivery of not included in the assessment student accommodations in the City on overall housing supply. In effect we were told to shut up. This was and is not effective and accountable democratic process at work. it was censorship. Complaints about it to Communities and to the Inspectorate directly have been fobbed off. And all this done against a background of the Inspector refusing to consider Chester, despite our unique and special local circumstances, as a separate settlement hierarchy.
Without going into too much detail the result is that this city, that has twice the national average of residential population in and about the centre, is having inflicted on it piecemeal one student accommodation after another as the relatively new University of Chester grows. Our concerns as a community have been and continue to be overridden, and some of the key aims and objectives included in the recently adopted Strategic Local Plan are found to be in direct conflict with this not included delivery of student accommodation in the City (just to 2017 causing a shortfall we estimate of some 800 mixed residential units as a result of sites lost to this demand for student accommodation). There is in the Plan for example a major commitment to bring the growing elderly population into Chester (as the Plan recognises set to grow by 60% in Warrington and Cheshire by 2030)in this new plan; but how many over 65s really want to move into an expanding and relatively unregulated university campus?
In this light we would respectfully ask and indeed we implore you to recognise this as a consideration in your address to the local growth and Regeneration Conference you are to speak at in October. In so doing the points we wish to have acknowledged are as follows:
In a nutshell we as CCV UK have already written to the new Parliament (PM and Communities) demanding delivery of a sound and fully comprehensive studentification policy is compulsory (including embracing just the the possible option of greenbelt as well as brownfield development in full consideration of impact of such growth in the Strategic Local Plan) in every so affected Strategic Local Plan, and. that in the Government Guidance on delivery of housing supply the advice that ‘LAs can include estimates of student housing demand in the overall housing supply assessment has to be changed to must to make the advice sound. I am sure you will see the sense in this dual demand. It does not undermine localism but does deliver responsible accountability in the guidance to LAs over their management of this important process; and not just for Chester but all the other so affected so called town and gown conurbations.
I attach for your interest copies of what CWAC proposes as its supplementary studentification policy and for comparison the policy we asked for. Ours we believe is a robust and effective proposal that acknowledges the interest of all while the CWAC proposal is no more than a cats lick that favours a carry on as you are approach to the University against all other interest that matter to us that is certain to prove ineffective at achieving truly sustainable management, in many respects, of the studentification of this conurbation, as is no doubt reflected in what is going on in so many others of this growing HE ‘enterprise’.
With thanks for your attention.
During the General and Local election campaign the Chester Chronicle asked Stephen Mosley, defending MP standing in Chester, this question:
Do you think that the University of Chester should be allowed to expand unabated?
He answered: “The University of Chester is providing more opportunities for our young people and investing in the local community, with facilities like the Riverside Innovation Centre.
However, I am aware that some communities are worried about the growth of the university. That is why it is essential we have good local councillors elected to stand up for local residents and to work with the university for the good of the community. I am in favour of localism and people on the ground making decisions for themselves”.
His answer clearly favoured the university over the interests of the community as he ducked any responsibility for the impact. CCV UK was very disappointed in Stephen Mosley’s answer, which was in our judgement evasive of his responsibility as an MP and that of Parliament to deal with the impact of studentification on communities.
Our question to him and all the candidates was:
“If elected what steps are you intending to take during the life of the next Parliament to achieve fully accountable statutory Parliamentary strategic legislation to be applied by the Inspectorate and Local Authority to have the impact of studentification properly managed by the planning system in the interest of all affected conurbations?”.
Now how does the new labour MP answer this question, and with Parliamentary power nationally in the hands of the Conservative Party how do they answer it?
This is the question so many affected residents living in affected town and gown conurbations nationwide wanted the General Election candidates to answer, and was one the media persisted in evading dealing with during the campaign and continue to so do following the result and establishment of a new Parliament.
As of August 2008, there were ninety-one universities in England, out of a total of 109 in the United Kingdom. This excludes approximately 133 higher education institutions that have not been given the right to call themselves a “university” by the Privy Council (such as colleges of higher education). We estimate the lives of well over one million people are affected by the growing presence and relatively unregulated (in terms of strategic planning) expansion of these institutions.
Simply stating it is up to the LA to make its own arrangements or that there is adequate legislation in place is untrue, misleading,unrepresentative, and undermining of community interest and the planning process; all in unbalanced favour of Higher Education growth whatever the cost to local conurbations. This has been condoned throughout this Parliament that Mr Mosley has been a part of and for many years before. The fact is this that any accountable and responsible Government and MP must be stop and change this situation the interests of sound sustainable management of our town and gown conurbations. It is clear to those of us living in such conurbations that there is a conspiracy of silence over the issue of the impact of such growth on local communities in favour of Higher Education expansion and dismissive of local community and indeed Local Plan stated aims and objectives.
The real General Election issue for people living in university affected conurbations regarding the matter of studentification for this General Election and its candidates is what they will or will not do in the next Parliament if elected to deal strategically in planning with the impact of studentification in there affected conurbations. It seems in some constituencies electors so affected will find they have no candidate fit to vote for in this regard.
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Regards Lorraine Polygon Southampton
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